• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Building the next generation of young talents through music education, the MTN Foundation example

Building the next generation of young talents through music education, the MTN Foundation example

In the words of William Shakespeare, “If music is the food of love, play on, give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.”
With this, one can rightly say that music is the soul of life and it gives immense peace.
Music is appreciated as a universal language because it knows no boundaries. It flows freely beyond the barriers of language, religion, country and age. is a vital part of human life; it uplifts moods and elicits emotions such as joy and happiness in a person’s life.

Scientists claim that music can do much more than just uplift moods. It has extreme power to heal human beings. It directly affects the heart and mind including other major organs in a way to help patients with circulatory conditions.

Luciano Bernard, a professor from the University of Pavia, said that ‘music induces a continuous, dynamic and, to some extent, predictable change in the cardiovascular system’.

It is no wonder that many countries have strong, and well-funded music education programmes that focus on the practical aspects of music. Recently, the United Kingdom Government published a national plan for music education. The plan includes the government’s commitment to allocate £79 million per annum for music hubs up to 2024/2025.

In addition, the UK Government plans a new £25 million fund for the purchase of musical instruments over the next few years.

In Nigeria, however, music education is mostly taught in tertiary institutions, and it is largely focused on the theoretical aspects, while the practical aspects are generally taught by private individuals, para-military organisations such as Boys’ Brigade, the African Lass and Lasses Brigade, the Salvation Army, and the National Civil Defence Corps.

Another of such private sector driven music academy is the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) School of Music, a non-military music academy is at Onikan, and the most prominent music academy in Nigeria.

Established in1989 to offer basic music training for children and adults interested in learning how to sing or play any musical instrument, the school in 2002, received the Federal Government’s accreditation to award Diploma in Music which can be equated with those awarded by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the United Kingdom.

This led to the setting up of the 2-year MUSON Diploma School in 2006, and since 2006, the MTN Foundation has been partnering with MUSON to fully fund and develop students who apply for the diploma course with scholarships.

The scholarship award covers tuition, transportation, and resource materials, among others during the 2-year diploma.

MTN-MUSON scholarship programme is a purpose-driven initiative directed at ensuring the capacity development of Nigerian youths with a knack for music. This was in a bid to provide Nigerian youths with an opportunity to access quality music education which contributes to the country’s development of the creative sector.

Read also: MTN Foundation donates musical studio, instruments to the MUSON School of music

Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, chairman of MTN Foundation, said the Foundation has invested close to N1 billion in the past 16 years into the Musical Society of Nigeria.

“MTN entered into a partnership with the Musical Society of Nigeria in 2006 and since then, we have not looked back. So far, we have expended nearly N1 billion to ensure the objectives of the MUSON centre are achieved,” he said.

On the importance of music and MTN Foundation’s commitment to supporting young Nigerian talents, Odunayo Sanya, executive secretary of MTN Foundation, said the music plays significant role in personal and communal development.

“It is an essential part of the cultural fabric of society that is why the MTN Foundation is committed to supporting, recognising, and celebrating local talent and partnering with like-minded organisations to implement enriching experiences that encourage young talent,” Sanya said.

MTN Foundation, he said, has taken the MUSON Diploma course as one of its nationwide projects and it remains one of the driving forces that help keep standards high.

MUSON’s internationally recognised programme promotes the understanding and performance of classical and contemporary music. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must possess a minimum academic qualification of GCE with at least five credit passes, including English or its SSCE equivalent.

Additionally, applicants must have a grade five or higher pass certificate of MUSON or any other recognised music examining body.

Over the years, MTN Foundation has sponsored over 400 music talents through the diploma course at the MUSON school of music. The Diploma School is the home of the award-winning MUSON Diploma Choir directed by Emeka Nwokedi and the MUSON School Orchestra & Concert Bands.

It has also produced outstanding Jazz ensembles such as the all-female GIRLZ RULE Band, the 5YZ MEN, and The Theosolites.

Recently, the MTN Foundation donated a fully equipped music lab and studio to expand the capabilities of the MUSON academy in raising the next generation of musical icons from Nigeria.

The partnership between the MTN Foundation and MUSON is clearly a model for developing the creative industries in Nigeria.